Westonbirt Community Shelter

local oak community built shelter

Project Year


Xylotek Role

Technical design, geometry definition, fabrication, installation

Project Team

Architect: Invisble Studio // Structural Engineer: Format

Photo Credits

Photos by project team and Forestry England

Westonbirt Arboretum Community Coppice Shelter

Xylotek are delivering an oak lath gridshell of arrayed arches with ad-hoc bracing on site at Westonbirt Arboretum.

From winter 2021 until spring 2022, we are working with architect Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio) and Format Engineers to create a community activity shelter. This will become a permanent home for Westonbirt's Community Programme, made from timber that is grown and milled on site.

Our design team have been working closely with Format Engineers on the technical design development of the shelter. We have defined the geometric timber elements that are being combined to create the organically shaped shelter.

These site pictures show the plywood jigs that were used to enable the steam-bending process. Once steamed, the pliable oak laths were shaped over the jig and clamped in place to cool. These members form the gridshell lattice components and enable construction.

The community groups and volunteers have been working with the carpenters at the Westonbirt Community Shelter site to build the structure. Most of the arches have now been lifted into place and the additional bracing is being secured to the internal face of the structure.

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